The Hearing Speech and Deaf Center of Greater Cincinnati (HSDC) is using a $25,000 grant from the Messer Construction Co. Foundation to help fulfill its mission of supporting individuals and families in overcoming obstacles in communication. The Center has used the funds to purchase occupational therapy gym equipment as well as furnishings for therapy rooms in a therapeutic office called Katie’s House, which is being constructed to resemble a home-like environment in an effort to ease the anxiety children feel when visiting a clinical facility.

Steve Eder, vice president and GM at Messer, praised the HSDC’s effectiveness and local impact.

“The HSDC has had a strong, positive impact on those in Cincinnati who struggle with communication barriers,” he said. “Their impact is felt particularly in their work with children.

“We at Messer are proud to have assisted them in the effort to enhance their resources. This grant will go a long way in allowing them to further aid children and their families in their battles with communication obstacles.”

The HSDC turns away no one, giving a yearly total of approximately $500,000 in discounted or free services to low-income clients. Its aim is to strengthen the Cincinnati community through advocacy, and by supporting individuals and families to overcome communication obstacles, regardless of their ability to pay.

Approximately 95 percent of the Center’s speech clients are under the age of six, and about 70 percent of the children who come to the center seeking speech therapy services come from disadvantaged homes. If not treated early, these children will develop reading difficulties and broader academic achievement problems, such as autism spectrum disorders, sensory processing disorders, attention deficit disorders or apraxia of speech.

The cause hits home for one Messer employee, Company Foreman Dan Grote, Jr., whose son, Landen, was diagnosed as a toddler with apraxia of speech and receives speech therapy services through the HSDC. Landen Grote will be one of the first clients of Katie’s House.

“The HSDC has been tremendous to our family,” Dan Grote, Jr. said. “We’re very grateful for the outstanding work they’ve done with Landen.

“We’re excited to be involved on both sides of this process, because we know what it means to the Center and how much it can expand its impact.”